Evacuation protocols and preparations are in place Saturday as Typhoon Rolly, the world’s strongest storm this year, threatened the country amid the continuing threat of COVID-19.
According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the storm is expected to intensify into a super typhoon across the Philippines.
As of 2 p.m., PAGASA reported that Rolly has a maximum sustained winds of 215 kilometers per hour near the center with its maximum up to 265 kph. It is labeled as the most powerful typhoon yet seen in the country since the deadly 2013 super storm Yolanda,
The weather bureau expects Rolly to bring up until Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal No. 4, the second highest in 5 categories, where destructive typhoon-force winds and heavy structural damage are expected.
The country’s disaster response agency is expecting widespread damage.
“Malawak na pinsala ang nakikita natin dito kahit hindi siya maging super typhoon. Kung typhoon level lang ay aabot tayo sa Typhoon Signal No. 4 at magkakaroon na lakas ng hangin na 171-220 kph at asahan natin ang heavy to very heavy damage sa kaniyang daraanan,” said National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Director Ricardo Jalad.
[We expect widespread damage even if it does not become a super typhoon. If it reaches typhoon level, we may go as high as Typhoon Signal No. 4 and have wind speeds of 171-220 kph and expect heavy to very heavy damage along its path.]
Rains are expected to begin on Saturday night, while warnings were issued for coastal areas where storm surges beyond 3 meters high may be expected in the next 24 hours.